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The appendix is a small structure attached to the large intestine, though it does not serve any direct purpose for digestion. The most recent theory regarding the appendix suggests that it is a storage location for the body's supply of good bacteria. The appendix can become easily inflamed or blocked, which leads to significant pain and infection. Fortunately, a variety of techniques will maintain a healthy appendix.
Appendicitis is commonly caused by stray pieces of stool that become dislodged and block the opening of the appendix. For this reason, it is important to keep the stool a proper consistency for effective removal. Eat plenty of high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. A diet high in fiber helps push wastes through the digestive tract. The fiber also changes the consistency of the waste, making it less likely to break apart and block the appendix opening. You should also avoid foods high in fat and sugar. If possible, limit your intake of processed foods, such as snack cakes, cookies, frozen meals and crackers. Not only are these types of foods generally unhealthy, they also cause blockages in the digestive tract. Adequate fluid consumption ensures that the body stays hydrated, which is important for maintaining internal health. Additionally, water helps push stool through the digestive tract, which is important for keeping stool from blocking the appendix. Drink at least eight servings of water (8 oz. each) every day.
Although exercise itself will not actually prevent the appendix from becoming infected or blocked, it will have a positive impact on the appendix. Optimum overall health is important for maintaining a healthy appendix. Aim to do cardiovascular exercise for at least 30 minutes, four or five days per week. In addition, add strength-training exercises to your routine at least three days per week. Regular exercise will make your immune system more powerful, which will be extremely important if your appendix does become unhealthy.
Throughout your life, watch for warning signs of appendicitis. Pain will typically begin around the navel, then move quickly to the lower right side of the abdomen. The pain will become increasingly worse when moving, coughing or jumping. Most people also experience nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, unusual bowel movements, low fever and abnormal urination. If you notice symptoms of appendicitis, you should seek medical care immediately. If left untreated, the appendix may rupture, which may lead to a life-threatening infection.